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 Professional Development:  Rockets to Racecars:  NASA STEM Resources 

Learn more about our Kentucky Speedway Professional Development Opportunities       

 

Target Audience
  • Informal Educators
  • Educators: K-12
Hosting Center(s)
  • Langley Research Center
Subject Category
  • Physical Science
Unit Correlation
  • Exploring Engineering and Technology
  • Professional Development Programs
Grade Level
  • 5-8
  • 9-12
  • K-4
Minimum Delivery Time
  • 015 min(s)
Maximum Connection Time
  • 060 min(s)
Event Focus Explore Newton’s laws of motion. How do these laws apply to cars on a racetrack, and what do the cars have in common with planes in the air?
 
Description

Understand the science of racing, through participation in these activities, students will gain understanding of the forces of flight and motion, and learn how these forces lift planes into the air, and hold racecars tight to the track at amazing speeds. Discover a variety of NASA resources for teaching these concepts, and test you skills at building a “NASACAR” racer. You may discover that planes aren’t the only thing that fly!

Science Matters

ubject Category

  • Physical Science
Unit Correlation
  • Exploring Engineering and Technology
  • Professional Development Programs
Grade Level
  • 5-8
  • 9-12
  • K-4
Minimum Delivery Time
  • 015 min(s)
Maximum Connection Time
  • 060 min(s)
Event Focus Explore Newton’s laws of motion. How do these laws apply to cars on a racetrack, and what do the cars have in common with planes in the air?
 
Description

Understand the science of racing, through participation in these activities, students will gain understanding of the forces of flight and motion, and learn how these forces lift planes into the air, and hold racecars tight to the track at amazing speeds. Discover a variety of NASA resources for teaching these concepts, and test you skills at building a “NASACAR” racer. You may discover that planes aren’t the only thing that fly!

Rockets 2 Racecars Promotional Loop

Drag Race to Mars Engineering Design Challenge

Design a capsule to land on Mars, just as NASA engineers have. As the capsule rushes through the atmosphere, it is speeding towards the surface, headed for a crash landing! You need to use the drag of the atmosphere to slow the capsule down. Using the materials described, design an apparatus that will create enough drag to allow the capsule to have a soft landing on the surface.

Please note, you will be judged on the speed or rate of descent. Use the data sheet provided to record that measurement after each test trial. Also record notes on modifications to your design as you work.

Enjoy the challenge of working through the engineering process

Download these files to get started today! 

Challenge Guide             

Data Sheet             

 

Rocket Racers

Rocket Racers http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Rocket_Races.html

There are many variables that affect a car’s ability to travel a straight path, let alone speed around a racetrack. Test your ability to control these variables and build a car that will travel the farthest distance. For further information contact Bonnie Murray at Bonnie.Murray@NASA.gov

Bernoulli's Law Activities

Bernoulli's Law Activities http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/543568main_PS1_Bernoulli_More_Bernoulli_C6.pdf http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/mib.htm

When you’re traveling at speeds of 200 miles an hour, it’s important to understand that faster moving air creates lower pressure! Air traveling around a curved surface speeds up, creating an area of low pressure. Demonstrate this fact with these simple experiments. For further information contact Bonnie Murray at Bonnie.Murray@NASA.gov

Shuttle Tire Activity

Shuttle Tire Activity http://www.aeronautics.nasa.gov/pdf/space_shuttle_tires_5_12.pdf

Tires, track surfaces and coefficient of friction are all huge considerations for crew chiefs and team mechanics. Tire pressure specifically, is a factor used to increase the cars handling ability and fuel efficiency. In this activity you’ll compare various tires and learn how to calculate tire pressure as it is affected by temperature. For further information contact Bonnie Murray at Bonnie.Murray@NASA.gov

Rocket Wind Tunnel Activity

Rocket Wind Tunnel Activity http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Rocket_Wind_Tunnel.html

Understanding how airflow around an object is affected by the objects shape is valuable information for both race car drivers and rocket designers. Being able to measure this variable provides valuable data, and that’s where wind tunnels come in handy. Both models and full scale cars have been tested in the wind tunnels at Langley, and are now tested in full scale tunnels at team garages on a regular basis. I this activity you’ll see how you can build your own small scale tunnel and do some testing of your own.

There are also several simple aerodynamics and wind tunnel activities is the Sci Files Guide : Sci Files Guide pdf                            

For further information contact Bonnie Murray at Bonnie.Murray@NASA.gov

FoIlSim Activity

FoIlSim Activity http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/freesoftware_page.html

FoilSim is interactive computer simulation software that demonstrates airflow around various shapes of airfoils. The Airfoil View Panel, is a simulated view of a wing being tested in a wind tunnel with air moving past it from left to right. Students change the position and shape of the wing by moving slider controls that vary the parameters of airspeed, altitude, angle of attack, thickness and curvature of the airfoil, and size of the wing area. The software displays plots of pressure or airspeed above and below the airfoil surface. A probe monitors air conditions (speed and pressure) at a particular point on or close to the surface of the airfoil. The software calculates the lift of the airfoils, allowing students to learn the factors that influence lift.

A technical paper describing the details of the mathematical method used in FoilSim is also available. http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/FoilTheory.pdf

For further information contact Bonnie Murray at Bonnie.Murray@NASA.gov

Fluttering Fun Activity

Fluttering Fun Activity http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/summer/education_resources/physicalscience_grades4-6/PS_fluttering-fun.html

Proper weight and balance are essential for the safe operation of a race car, just as they are for an aircraft. The distribution of weight, and the location of the car’s center of gravity affect the stability and handling of the car as it travels around the track. The center of gravity is the point where the weight is balanced, the point through which the force of gravity acts and about which the car is balanced. 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Exploring the Extreme Educator Guide

http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Exploring.the.Extreme.Guide.html

Further information contact Bonnie Murray at Bonnie.Murray@NASA.gov

Bug O'Copter Activity  - Page 1.                  Page 2.                 

As we’ve seen, moving air can be a real pick me up, or it can be a huge drag! Race car designers need to reduce drag as much as possible to allow for the fastest speeds, and the best gas mileage. Experiment with the effects of drag using this simple paper copter. For further information contact Bonnie Murray at Bonnie.Murray@NASA.gov

Timeline correlating developments in Aeronautics and Space exploration to developments in Motor Sport Racing Coming soon…..

National Science Foundation Video Series The Science of Speed

 

 

Instructional Objectives Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are the foundation for a successful career in NASCAR or NASA! Like driving a race car or launching a rocket, mastering these subjects take some practice! Take a pit stop to explore some resources to sharpen your STEM skills. Soon you'll be on track to a successful career.

 
 

Sequence of Events

 

Pre-Conference Activities

 

NASA and NASCAR have more in common than you may realize. Review the R2R website (http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/Rockets2Racecars/) for more information.

 

Videoconference Activities

 

As you watch these demonstration videos, pay special attention to materials needed, and definitions of terms provided to optimize the learning experience.

 

Post-Conference Activities

 

Use the lessons highlighted above in formal and informal education activities. Support inquiry learning and understanding of STEM concepts through these hands on activities. Beginning a lesson with a demonstration like the ones included above has been shown to increase student achievement, test it for yourself.

 

Standards

 

National Science Education Standards

SCIENCE AS INQUIRY CONTENT STANDARD A:

• Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

• Understanding scientific inquiry

PHYSICAL SCIENCE CONTENT STANDARD B:

• Motion and Forces

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CONTENT STANDARD E:

• Understanding about science and technology

• Abilities of technological design

SCIENCE IN PERSONAL AND SOCIAL PERSPECTIVES CONTENT STANDARD F:

• Science and technology in society

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEACHERS OF MATHEMATICS (NCTM)

Standard 4 - Measurement

• In all grades students should apply a variety of techniques, tools, and formulas for determining measurement

Standard 8 - Communication

• In all grades students should organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking to communicate with others

• Express mathematical ideas coherently and clearly to peers, teachers and others

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Page Last Updated: April 29th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator